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Buttermilk Pie for Pi(e) Day

Today is Pi(e) Day – so named because March 14th (3-14) corresponds to the mathematical concept of “pi” (3.14). Can you tell that I liked math in school? Actually, back in high school we always celebrated this day in my math classes. While I don’t want to come right out and admit how much of a math geek I was, I will say that I had more than a minor familiarity with pi and just about every variety of pie that Marie Callendar’s made at the time. Needless to say, I have harbored a soft spot for the date ever since and have always tried to have some pie in celebration.

This year I went with something that is a Southern Classic, but one that is relatively new to me because it is not a pie that I had growing up: Buttermilk Pie. Fruit pies have always been my top choices and apple pie will always be my favorite, but this pie can hold its own against the fruit pies. The filling had a rich, slightly butterscotch flavor and a hint of tang from the buttermilk. It was very smooth and creamy, but much more substantial than most custards. It was also not heavy in the least, reminding me more of a clafoutis than of a cream-type pie. In short, the pie is not only outstanding but also unique.

I paired the filling with a graham cracker crust. The sugary crunch of the crisp crust was ideal for setting off the filling. I don’t generally have problems making regular pastry light and flakey, but pie crusts can be tricky and making a graham cracker crust ensures that the base of your pie will melt into your mouth, just as the filling does.

The raspberry sauce that is pictured with the pie was an inspiration from Martha Stewart. I made it by mashing about 1 cup of raspberries with a fork and tossing them in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar to cook for about 2 minutes. It isn’t impressive alone, but sets off the pie quite nicely for a variation on the plainer pie.

Buttermilk Pie

1 graham cracker crust, recipe follows

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp ap flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

1 tbsp butter, melted (optional)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, combine brown sugar, flour and salt and pluse a few times. Add eggs and whizz until well combined. Add vanilla, nutmeg, butter (if using) and buttermilk and process for about 20 seconds, until very smooth.
Pour into prepared graham cracker crust, taking care not to over-fill the pie.
Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until just set.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Makes 1 pie; serves 8-10.

Graham Cracker Crust

8 large grahams crackers (to make 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups graham crumbs)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a food processor, whizz graham crackers until reduced to crumbs. Add sugar and pulse to combine. Pour in vanilla and melted butter and process until crumbs are all moistened.
Press firmly and evenly into a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375F, until browned at the edge.
Set aside to cool.

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  • CameraDawktor
    March 14, 2006

    Call me dense, but I’ve never heard of buttermilk pie before. Sounds delish…I will have to try it sometme! Bought my brussel sprouts to try your recipe!!

  • christine
    March 14, 2006

    Wow, this looks and sounds delicious! I don’t know if we have buttermilk here in Manila, but I’ll have to do a search. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes! : )

  • Danielle
    March 14, 2006

    ::twitch:: I was about to make a buttermilk chess pie for Pi Day, and post about it. Not kidding. I bought the buttermilk on the way home, have my cookbook open next to me, and was just getting my internet fix before starting to make. Eeeeep. I don’t know what to do for Pi Day now.

  • Cathy
    March 14, 2006

    mmm – sounds wonderful. Gosh, I need to get a new calendar – I didn’t know about pancake day, now I missed pi(e) day, next thing you know I’ll be missing out on brownie day!

  • Ana
    March 14, 2006

    This is something I always wanted to try, buttermilk pie!
    I have never heard of or seen buttermilk pie before coming to the US. Since then (7 years ago…) I have seen it in many places, lots of recipes, but never made it.
    It looks so simple, but something I may like, as I really like creamy desserts. I guess I should make it sometime!

  • Margalow
    March 15, 2006

    Hey, nice blog. Check out my blogs:
    Restaurant Recipes
    Top Secret Recipes
    Food Network Recipes

  • Kate
    March 15, 2006

    Pi(e) day. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that??!?

    Lovely post =) I like the addition of vanilla extract in your graham cracker crust – still haven’t quite perfected mine and am always looking for ways to improve them. This recipe looks delicious…I’ll be sure to give it a shot!

  • Ivonne
    March 17, 2006


    Thanks for this recipe. I love buttermilk, but often find that I buy a container and have half of it left with no use. Now I have something to use it for.

    The pie looks delectable!

  • sherijberi
    March 21, 2006

    I don’t get it. Call me dense. Does this recipe call for BUTTER or not. The directions refer to “butter (if you use it)” and then I’m just LOST. HELP!!!!!!!! Sheri;)

  • Nic
    March 21, 2006

    Sheri – The butter is optional. You don’t need to use it.

  • kimberleyblue
    March 14, 2008

    I have buttermilk in my fridge that I’ve been itching to use. This will be perfect – Happy Pie Day!

  • Bertie
    March 26, 2008

    branches, which, though they may sometimes be all carried on by to restrain the exportation of corn. In such great countries as

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